Chicken Run's Julia Sawalha says sequel will recast Ginger after being told she "sounds too old"

(Image credit: DreamWorks/Aardman)

Chicken Run star Julia Sawalha has claimed that the upcoming Netflix sequel (opens in new tab) is planning to recast the role of Ginger with a younger actress, after apparently being told she now sounds "too old" to play the part.

Sawalha voiced Ginger in the original 2000 Aardman Animation, and fans no doubt expected the original cast to return for the highly-anticipated sequel. However, Sawalha has recently released a statement saying that she was told the film’s creative team were planning to recast the role, admitting that she feels “unfairly dismissed.”

"Last week I was informed out of the blue, via email, through my agent that I would not be cast as Ginger in the Chicken Run sequel. The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds 'too old' and they want a younger actress to reprise the role," Sawalha wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. (opens in new tab)

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"Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I, however, was not given this opportunity.” The actress further explained that she even recorded her own voice test at home and sent it to the film's producers.

"I went to great lengths to prove to the production that my voice is nigh on the same as it was in the original film. If they will be using some of the original cast members… let's be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed." 

She continued, "To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless, something in all of this doesn’t quite ring true. I trust my instincts and they are waving red flags."

Sawalha signed off, saying, "There is nothing more I can do, other than to thank all of you who loved and still love Chicken Run, as I do. I'm off for the chop now." 

Disney's Toy Story franchise spanned two decades with the same voice cast, so it does seem odd that Chicken Run would replace the voice of one of its most beloved characters. Chicken Run 2 has yet to confirm a cast for the movie, so there's currently no word on which, if any, of the original cast members will be returning. Netflix has not responded to Sawalha's claims.  

Aardman's Peter Lord insisted recently that they've got the "perfect story", telling Variety (opens in new tab)"...the relationship with Netflix is kind of perfect as well because they celebrate the filmmaker and are so filmmaker friendly. I feel now we can make the Chicken Run sequel we want to, the one we really care about."

The sequel will premiere globally on Netflix with a release date yet to be announced. In the meantime check out some of the best movies on Netflix.

Millicent Thomas

Millicent Thomas was once a freelance games and film journalist, writing for publications including GamesRadar, Total Film,,, Wireframe, Little White Lies, Culturess, SciFiNow, and more. She is now in international PR and marketing for Ubisoft.